Organising a Funeral
We understand how overwhelming and emotional organising a funeral can be. This is a stressful time as you are grieving, whilst also having to make important decisions on how to celebrate your loved one’s life. Please remember to ask for help if you need it. We hope that this practical guide will make this difficult time slightly easier for you and help you to organise the funeral that you and your loved one would have wanted.
The first step is to have your loved one’s death verified by their doctor. If the cause of death is clear the doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause if Death. If the cause of death is unknown or deemed suspicious, the coroner’s office will be contacted and conduct an investigation into cause of death. In this situation you cannot register the death until the coroner issues the documents allowing the death to be registered.
Choosing a funeral director
Most funerals are arranged through a funeral director, however you can arrange a funeral yourself. Experienced funeral directors can help take some of the stress away from organising a funeral. They understand how you are feeling and are experts in all aspects of funeral arrangements, they will guide you through the decisions that need to be made and are on hand to support you with answer any questions or concerns you have. Most funeral homes are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are on hand to listen to your needs and guide you through the next steps in your difficult journey.
Some people may already have ideas of what type of funeral they would like, or perhaps your loved one has left specific requests. There are so many choices available so be sure to check that the funeral directors can fulfil your requests, whether it be a traditional funeral, eco burial or something completely unique.
Every funeral home is different, which is why we created a funeral director comparison tool. We hope that you find a funeral home that is a perfect fit for you and your family.
“ Experienced funeral directors can help take some of the stress away from organising a funeral. ”
Registering the death
The funeral director will need certain information and paperwork before they can begin to arrange a funeral. Although you can choose a funeral director, have them take your loved one into their care and start to plan the funeral, you will need to register your loved one’s death before a funeral can take place.
You will need to register the death within 5 days, this includes weekends and bank holidays, at the Register Office (https://www.gov.uk/register-offices) of the district where the death of your loved one has taken place.
Every person, every family and every funeral is different. Everyone has ideas of what they think a funeral should be like or what it should include, but in all honesty there are no hard or fast rules. You need to do what is right for you and your loved one that has passed.
You may already be aware of what your loved one would have wanted, such as a cremation instead of burial or they may have left a funeral checklist detailing what they would like.
Talk to your funeral director and the person who will conduct the service about your ideas, they will help you to make it as personal as they can so that the funeral is a true reflection of your loved one.
If your loved one had a life insurance policy or funeral plan then they may have already made the big decisions for you. You may already be aware of their funeral plan, or they have left the details in their will. The Funeral Planning Authority (https://funeralplanningauthority.co.uk/trace-a-plan/) can help trace funeral plans which have been purchased with registered providers.
When to have a funeral
Typically a funeral is held one to two weeks after death. However, this can change depending on the funeral director, religious beliefs, availability at the crematorium or perhaps you have family that live further away and you would like them to attend. Your funeral director will be able to help you with arranging dates, specifically if you require a funeral within a set time period.
If you chose to repatriate your loved one to or from another country for their funeral then a specialised funeral director will be able to arrange this for you, whilst guiding you through the legal process.